's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands , 17 June 2023 | Vivienne Christie

The Libema Open is proving a career-defining tournament for Jordan Thompson;.

After reaching his only other ATP tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2019, the Sydneysider earned the chance to lift a first tour-level trophy at the grass-court tournament with victory over fellow Australian Rinky Hijikata in their semifinal.

“It’s amazing,” said Thompson, following his 7-6(3) 6-3 progression against Hijikata, who had reached that stage of tournament for the first time in his career.

“Only two finals in my career and they happen to be in the same place.”

Thompson is aiming to improve on his 2019 performance, when he finished runner-up to Adrian Mannarino , in the final against Dutch No.6 seed Tallon Griekspoor.

If the composure he showed against Hijikata is a measure, the 29-year-old Sydneysider is well prepared to take on the local player.

Thompson secured his victory in just under two hours, and while he defended the only break point he faced, he admitted it was tough to take on a fellow Australian.

“It’s very tricky. Another fellow countryman and) we’re both from the same place,” said Thompson.

“I’m older than him. I assume he would have looked up to us when we were in training, when he was younger.”

Experience ultimately proved most telling in the first all-Australian semifinal in 22 years – when Pat Rafter defeated Lleyton Hewitt at Cincinnati – as Thompson gradually took control against Hijikata.

After claiming the first set in a tiebreak, he secured the first and only break of serve in the fourth game of the second set.

And although he admitted “I didn’t make a first serve” in the final game, the older Australian secured victory on his third match point.

“It’s incredibly tough to play against him because he plays such aggressive brand of tennis,” Thompson said. “But I think I played the big points well when it counted.”

 It follows pleasing recent progress on grass for the world No.103 Australian, who exited to Andy Murray in the semifinals of last week’s Surbiton Challenger tournament.
Regardless of the outcome in the final against Griekspoor, Thompson will make his top-100 return in next week’s rankings release.

Aussies in action – ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Men’s singles, semifinals
 Jordan Thompson (AUS) d [LL] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 7-6(3) 6-3

Men’s singles, final
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v[6] Tallon Griekspoor (NED)

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